Angela is a solicitor in her late thirties. She has always wanted to have her own children, and those maternal instincts grew stronger as her friends started to have families of their own. With no sign of the right man coming along, and the window of opportunity quickly closing, she took an alternative route to becoming a mother.
Angela’s child was conceived on her lunch break, by a man she has never seen, never held, or even touched. That morning, she had gone to work like any ordinary day.
That afternoon, she returned to her desk after a life-changing moment. Unknown to her colleagues she had just received artificial insemination, and in the weeks that followed she would learn that it was successful.
Angela’s sperm donor is from Denmark which is where most Irish women get donor sperm. The Danish sperm bank Cryos is the world’s biggest and it ships sperm to over 70 countries. They have a web-based database where prospective mothers can browse through hundreds of donor profiles, not unlike shopping online.
Using a login, they can search by ethnicity, eye and hair colour, height and weight. Angela chose a donor who is similar to her in looks; tall and fair. In some countries, such as the UK, legislation is in place to give children to right to identity their father, so it is illegal to use anonymous donors. In Ireland, both anonymous and non-anonymous donors are permitted. Angela chose an anonymous donor.
One of Angela’s reasons for wanting her own children is that she herself is adopted. She never met her birth parents, and always wondered what it would be like to have a relative that looks like her.
Her dad is a 78 year-old widower living in rural Tipperary. He is very supportive of Angela’s decision; after all, he has a firsthand experience of wanting a child and taking extra steps to have one.
This documentary follows Angela’s journey to motherhood; her reasons for making this choice, the support she has from friends and family, the sounds of her baby’s heart beating, her labour groans and her newborn’s first cry.
Narrated and produced by Deirdre Mullins
Production Supervision by Sarah Blake
Sound Supervision by Mark Dwyer
All photos on this page are courtesy of Claire Byrne Photography
First Broadcast November 9th 2013
'Documentary on One is the home of Irish radio documentaries and the largest library of documentary podcasts available anywhere in the world. We tell stories in sound, mostly Irish ones, and each documentary tells its own story'